Well to my surprise, natural gas is also less expensive to use this year here in Pittsburgh, PA than anthracite coal. A few years ago it was the reversed. Currently bituminous coal it is still less expensive to use than natural gas, but the few dollars in cost savings is not worth the extra ash clean up and mess to burn it. So, hard wood has been my current fuel of choice this season so far, just because I have so much free wood available to me this year.
I still have on stock, piles of anthracite and bituminous coal, along with my large wood pile. There isn't any better feeling of security than knowing you have enough fuel on hand and appliances that will burn it effeciently with meeting the heat loss during a power outage.
Last year was a good case in point here in my area when the power was out for over a week during the big snow fall. During that storm, my house became a boarding house for my sister and mother. My mother is all electric and my sister is natural gas, but without electricity, neither had any heat. Even though I also didn't have electricity, my gravity solid fuel heating units supplied all the heat we needed. I still had city water service and natural gas service, so hot water wasn't a problem or cooking meals too.
So, this year has got me rethinking natural gas. Maybe a gravity solid fuel conversion to natural gas using a standing pilot with a milivolt thermostat. Sure I realize that these units were not as efficient as todays units, but it is something to explore for another fun project.